Presentations for Consultants, McKinsey style

05 Jun, 2022 | Presentations العروض التقديمية

What we can learn about presentations from the most successful management consulting companies like McKinsey, BCG, Bain

Prezlab has had the privilege of working with some of the best management consulting firms in the region and we have helped a slew of consultants and consulting companies with their presentations. We thought it would be a great idea to jot down what the most successful management consulting companies such as McKinsey, BCG, and Bain do with their presentations that make it such a success. Their presentations are elegant, articulate, well-organized, engaging, and pack a mighty punch.

Great consultants have the ability to figure out solutions to problems. This, in our opinion, is a ‘must’ for consultants. When this ability is coupled with the ability to design a great presentation, that’s when the magic happens. Because with the power of effective communication and delivery, they are able to change minds and make their audience see that their solutions to any given problem is the most effective one. Unfortunately, a lot of management consultants lack this ability and this blog is meant to edge you a little closer to being an effective communicator of solutions via presentation design.

Think of a great presentation like a movie in which the story-telling aspect of it is the most central. The idea of your presentation as a management consultant is to present and unpack complex ideas (solutions) in the most simplified and easy-to-understand manner. Apart from storytelling, the other aspects of your presentation would be data and analysis. All of these elements should work in unison and be coherent with one another to make one singular point (solution). If you want to learn more about this aspect of a presentation then read our blog Boring presentations kill great ideas; here is how to avoid the dreaded death by PowerPoint

Before you start putting together your presentation ask yourself the following questions:

01 Who is my target audience and what is their level of understanding of the problems?

02 How long should your presentation be?

03 How much time would your audience like to spend on your presentation?

04 What do they really care about?

05 What action would you like them to take after your presentation?

Here are the typical elements of a management consulting presentation

01 Executive Summary

02 Table of Content

03 Action Title

04 Chapters

05  Body of slides/slides that conform to the narrative

06 Conclusion / recommendation

The Executive Summary is a situational summary of the problem at hand and the gist of your presentation. This is mostly written for top management who don’t have the time to go through the entire presentation and just want a high-level summary. The Action Title is your single point key idea which you will be proposing in the rest of the presentation. The Chapters and Body of Slides are where you present your story backed by the data and analysis. The conclusion is your final point (solution) reinforced and reiterated.

One aspect of what makes sides from McKinsey and other top management consulting firms stand out is the use of engaging visuals that go side by side with the data that’s being presented on the slide. 

Another aspect of McKinsey slides is the constant and conscious attempt to keep the number of slides to as few as possible. This default instinct is to present as much data as possible and the false impression that most management consultants have is that if they say more, they have a better chance of winning their audience over.

Nothing can be further away from the truth. Once you start thinking in this way you would be surprised how you can chop down 20 slides to 2 slides without losing any real impact.

McKinsey consultancy slides also do not use a lot of bullet points – as that is a sure-fire way of losing your audience’s interest. Studies have shown that people are more likely to remember information if it’s presented in images and pictures as opposed to bullets. One of the greatest presenters of all time Steve Jobs never used bullets in any of his presentations and we wrote a blog on how to present like Steve Jobs if you are interested in learning more.

Here are some other key features of slides from McKinsey worth keeping in mind when designing presentations:

01 Choose a professional font like Ariel or any other professional font

02 Keep colors to a minimum and keep the color scheme consistent across all the slides

03 Highlight key points

04 Don’t clutter your slides and give your slides enough breathing space

05 Ensure proper and correct alignment

06 Have a “source” section at the bottom of each slide

07 No fancy graphics or animations

And most importantly: Make sure each side has an Action Title that encapsulates the key idea of that slide in a one-liner (maximum two sentences). The idea is that if someone reads just the Action Titles of each slide, they should get the gist of your presentation.

If you want to see some of McKinsey’s presentations in action then check out the links below

Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation

Reinventing Construction

Laying the foundations for a financially sound industry

If you would like to get one of your McKinsey-style slides designed by PrezLab, then get in touch with us.

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